Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata”
THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT.
I was on my feet as though I had shot out of cannon. Whatever the noise was it was cataclysmic. For some reason the first thought in my mind was that an aeroplane had crashed into the house.
I ran out of my bedroom and then bumped into my oldest son on the landing. We stared at each other frozen with shock. Theo was now six foot three and very much a capable man. He held on to me as we rocked backwards and forwards in the turbulent, violent conditions. I have never been so scared either before or since. As the lightening flashed I looked over his shoulder, through his bedroom window, and realised that not only had my plants gone forever but so had my beloved greenhouse. Gone forever, disappeared into that raging night!
“What the hell is happening” I managed to scream.
My husband joined us on the landing and from our vantage point we realised that the tree had come through the house and had completely blocked the stairs. A hurricane storm had blown away everything in its path, flinging it wildly into the air. The three of us were being pressed against the walls by the menacing, gale force ferocity of the wind.
My husband made his way down the hallway inch by inch flattened against the wall by the ferocity of the wind and the pouring rain that was coming sideways and stinging everybody. He was going to get Miranda who could sleep through anything. Theo made his way after him to rescue our youngest son who was stood wild eyed at his bedroom door.
The strength of the roaring storm pushed me violently back into the bedroom and experienced a moment of sheer unbridled terror. It was the noise that was the worst, like the roar of a hundred jet engines. I forced my way back onto the landing looking for my precious family. I saw my oldest son first with his thirteen year old brother hanging onto his back. He brushed forcefully past me and flung his brother on the bed.
He dashed back to look for his father and sister and I realised I was being peppered by thousands of little stones all over my body and face. We had a large gravelled driveway and the force of the wind was swirling the gravel in the air and sending it pell mell into the house through the open frontage. Myriad plants and muddy soil were following close behind like missiles in a raid. I felt faint and started to shake then I realised that I was holding my breath.
I let it go in relief, as I saw my husband, daughter and oldest son in a line, backs against the wall coming towards me step by step along the landing wall. I ran back into the bedroom to comfort my youngest son and when they reached the bedroom door they managed to push it closed behind them and barricade it with a chest of drawers …….
Extract from The Boomer Generation by Carole Mccall due out in May 2015.